One of the prevalent themes during the week's training session has been for riders to do more than simply react to situations; they must think strategically and proactively when in the saddle, as they are ultimately responsible for their horse's actions. Ward noted that while some riders may win a lot because they push the envelope, they also have to be smart about their training, even if it means taking a conservative route and adding strides.
"With these small fences, this is not the time to be galloping the jumps. Be disciplined, be patient," he said. "You must be in charge of the horse's stride. Make it happen—not just kinda. But you have to make those corrections before the last stride to the fence."
Ward scolded participants whose focus wavered as the course progressed. "Don't be three-quarters of the way through a turn and still getting organized," he admonished a rider. "You've done the same line three times now, and you're still three strides in before you're even thinking about balancing. You've got to be a smart rider, at least after the first time through. You've got to think! The same riders win everything because they're smarter than the other people."
Ward believes mistakes, even seemingly minor ones, display a lack of discipline. "Trust what you know is correct and do just enough to get it done. You've got to plan ahead, always be thinking ahead, because how you ride this line seriously affects the next one," he concluded. "Think about what's going to make it easier for you, and learn from somebody else's mistakes. Don't ride stupid."
Due to Morris' continued illness, Beezie Madden is on the schedule for Friday's mounted sessions.